Hear the parable of the sower.
“Can you hear me now?” This old slogan for a phone company sought to convince people that their phone network provided the best service—clear reception, no static, and no dropped calls. No matter where you were, you would always hear clearly. It was a successful campaign because we all know how important hearing each other and being heard are.
It’s important to God too. In fact, Jesus used the word “hear” over and over again in today’s short Gospel reading! He wanted to make sure his disciples heard his explanation of the parable, and the story itself involves four “hearers.” The first three hear, but their listening is compromised by distraction and anxiety. The last hears and understands—and is fruitful. It’s not enough, Jesus says, to hear what is said; it’s listening that brings depth and understanding.
So how can we hear God more clearly?
Don’t allow distractions in prayer to cut your connection with the Lord. They can be like background noise pressing in on you, garbling the words. Imagine trying to carry on a phone conversation while you’re in a crowded shopping mall. What would you do? You’d find someplace quieter so that you could listen. You can do the same in prayer—find a quiet place to spend time listening to the Lord.
Also, try to get rid of the mental static of preoccupations and anxieties. This is another type of noise that can get in your way. Take the things you’re feeling anxious about, maybe your to-do list or a stressful conversation you recently had, write a couple of notes about them, and then put the paper aside. Then take a moment of silence, and notice how much more peaceful you feel because you have put your concerns in God’s hands.
Finally, recognize the things that might be blocking your connection with the Lord. If your phone was losing its signal, you’d try to find a place with better reception. If you feel you’ve lost your connection with God, identify what’s blocking it, and move away from it. Repent of any sins you are aware of, and be as open as you can to the voice of the Lord.
Let’s pray for each other today:
word among us